News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: October 2009

  1. Air France jumps ahead with premium economy

    Air France chose the International French Travel Market in Paris last week to introduce its new "Premium Voyageur" economy plus product, a quantum leap ahead of anything offered to date by its European and Middle Eastern competitors.

    The main feature of the seat is that it comes as a shell unit, meaning that the back is fixed and can be used as an amenity provider for the passenger sitting behind without it impeding that person. (with a cut out for large stomachs). It is all very well thought out.

    With "Premium Voyageur" you get a priority check-in but no access to the lounge (a payment scheme is being considered and various card holders are allowed in), and the same meals as economy.

    The new seats will be launched on the New York service on 25 October quickly followed by the other major trunk routes.
    Air France premium economy

    Source: AERBT - full story

  2. Flagship for Chelsea

    The Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour has unveiled the first stage of its new look. After a nine-month refurbishment, four new penthouse suites have opened on the eighth floor, along with a new executive lounge and two meeting rooms.

    The extensive renovation programme is expected to be completed early next year, and Jeremy Hopkins, operations director at the Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour, said that the hotel "will be the flagship for the Wyndham collection".

    The new penthouse suites are named after areas in London and feature the creative influences of well-known British designers. They have separate living and sleeping areas, rain showers, original design prints on the walls and open fires, as well as terraces with views over the London skyline.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full story from Sara Turner

  3. Manchester to New York service switches to American

    Oneworld carrier American Airlines has announced it is to launch a daily summer seasonal service from Manchester to New York JFK in 2010, just days after Delta confirmed it is to drop its own service on the route.

    The new route will operate daily between May 16 and September 30, 2010, using two-class Boeing 757-200 aicraft with 16 lie-flat seats in business class and 156 seats in economy.

    Source: - full report by Mark Caswell

  4. BA to charge for seat selection

    Most Club World passengers will be Executive Club card holders.

    In case you missed it British Airways have announced that they are to charge customers for seat selection.

    From 7 October 2009 BA is launching a service to give customers more control over their seating options.

    Passengers will now be able to select their seats when booking and secure, for instance, exit row positions for a fee.

    The previous arrangement however is still in place whereby during the 24-hour window before a flight a seat can be selected.

    Source: AERBT - full story

  5. Sold Out sign looming

    Less than seven seats remaining for Management Solutions (UK) Limited and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives next Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum to be held at the London Hesperia Victoria Hotel on the 15th October.

    To have a look at the Agenda click here

    If you want to book online click here to guarantee your space and avoid disappointment.

  6. von Essen unveils inaugural Metropolitan hotel

    von Essen is launching its 'Metropolitan Set' with the recently acquired Forbury Hotel in Reading.

    Housed in a 1911 listed building, the five-star Forbury offers 23 rooms and suites arranged over 4 floors.

    The Forbury will be the launch property for von Essen's Metropolitan Set, comprising inner city hotels with a predominantly corporate customer base.

    It will be joined in the set early next year by the Hotel Verta in London, von Essen's first newbuild property and the first 'integrated hotel heliport solution' in the world.

    Source: e-tid - full story

  7. Air Southwest comes to the rescue

    Taking a leaf out of the Ryanair book after the Irish carrier abandoned its Stansted - Newquay route, blaming everyone else.

    The Plymouth-based airline is pulling out all the stops to remind travellers to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly that it now flies six times per day from London to both Newquay and Plymouth.

    The airline says it offers more destinations out of Newquay both in terms of destinations and flights than any other carrier - without hidden extras.

    Source: AERBT - full story

  8. 8 Lounge around for just a fiver!

    East Midlands Trains is opening its first class lounges to all passengers for a £5 daily charge, so those travelling on a standard class ticket can now take advantage of the operator's station facilities, including free tea, coffee, wifi access, newspapers and snacks.

    The lounges are open Monday to Friday, and weekly tickets are also available for £15, monthly tickets for £50 or a year's pass for £480. The rail company currently has first class lounges at London St. Pancras International, Leicester, Derby and Nottingham stations.

    East Midlands opened its Nottingham lounge in June and has announced plans to refurbish its high speed fleet.

    Source: - full story by Catherine Mitchell

  9. Virgin offers visas online

    Virgin Atlantic is making travel visas available via its website.

    The airline has joined forces with visa and passport services provider CIBT.

    This will enable travellers to secure travel visas to most countries, including China, India, Australia and Africa, through the carrier's contact centre and

    The agreement covers visas, passports and other documents required for travel.

    The airline's prodiuct and service director Dee Cooper said: "Virgin Atlantic's aim is to provide our passengers with a seamless travel experience from the time of booking all the way through to them disembarking at their destination."

    Source: Travelmole - full story from Phil Davies

  10. Nomination Deadline for Award extended

    The nomination deadline for the European Travel Buyer Awards 2010 (ETBA 2010) has been extended to Friday 16th October. The ETBA 2010 are the only awards programme to formally recognise, acknowledge and reward those travel buyers, managers, bookers and their departments for the great job they do every day for their companies and travellers.

    The awards are aimed at those buyers who can demonstrate that they have made advancements by implementing changes, or by improving an area of their travel or meeting programme. They should also have been innovative in either their travel or meeting programme, and can demonstrate that they have balanced the financial needs of the business with the personal and functional needs of their company travellers.

    Travel and meeting buyers, managers or coordinators can put themselves forward or can be nominated by a third party including colleagues, suppliers, consultants, associations, intermediaries or media.

    The Awards is an invite-only event open to 350 award finalists, their guests and members of the Business Travel Show Executive Travel Buyer Programme. There are limited sponsorship opportunities and only 50 supplier places available for this exclusive evening.

    Full details on entering, nominating or sponsoring can be found on the awards website, emailing or calling +44 (0)20 7970 4943.

  11. BA, Iberia & American deal hits EU snag

    The European Commission has voiced its concerns over the proposed transatlantic venture between British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia.

    Among the regulator's concerns are the disproportionate hold the three airlines would have on various Europe-to-US routes, including London Heathrow to Miami and Dallas.

    The Oneworld alliance members are endeavouring to operate as a joint business on flights between the EU and North America, which would allow them to cooperate on pricing and schedules. If they are to go ahead they will also need approval from both US and EU regulators.

    The Commission also confirmed that it was still looking into similar plans for co-operation by Star Alliance members Lufthansa, Continental, United and Air Canada and between Skyteam members Air France/KLM and Delta/Northwest.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  12. Air Europa plans steady growth

    Spanish airline Air Europa is to strengthen its UK team as sales and traffic on its new London route continue to improve.
    As the UK business improves Air Europa would continue to review new London routes based on feedback from its customer and travel agencies.

    The current focus over the next six to 12 months would be to improve market awareness of the London to Madrid route. Month-on-month sales on the London Gatwick-Madrid route have improved since it began in March this year.

    The route is served by a 122-seat Embraer 195. But as load factors improve Air Europa has recently started to use higher capacity B737-800s.

    Source ABTN - full story by Andrew Gough

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